The new standard unified labor contract: a first step in abolishing the Kafala system?

The standard unified labor contract issued by the Lebanese Ministry of Labor on September 8, 2020, is the first step in a series of measures needed to abolish the Kafala / sponsorship system to which foreign domestic workers are subjected. This contract is the fruit of a series consultations and discussions conducted between a committee – consisting of Kafa, the International Labor Organization, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Caritas, the Legal Agenda and a representative of the L’Orient-Le Jour newspaper – and the Ministry of Labor for over a year. However, Kafa has reservations about the final contract as it was drafted and issued by the Ministry of Labor since it does not take into consideration the mechanisms needed to implement its provisions.

The issued contract includes new provisions that will facilitate the organization of rapports between employers and domestic workers and will guarantee the latter a number of labor and human rights. However it contains some gaps that will be highlighted below.

It is important to note that the contract does not have any actual value if it is not accompanied by the creation and implementation of  ethical recruitment processes, clear and binding termination mechanisms, and procedures aiming to monitor the implementation of the contract’s provisions. For all of these reasons and more, Kafa believes that the contract adoption must be conditional on implementable termination mechanisms and thorough monitoring carried out by the concerned parties.

English | September 22, 2020

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